by Drury Athletics
Following their undefeated regular season, the Drury Lady Panthers claimed numerous awards from the Great Lakes Valley Conference today. In a vote of league coaches, Drury head coach Molly Miller was named the GLVC Chuck Mallander Coach of the Year, Daejah Bernard was a unanimous choice for the GLVC Defensive Player of the Year, and Paige Robinson was named the GLVC Freshman of the Year.
Hailey Diestelkamp, Paige Robinson, and Daejah Bernard were named First Team All-GLVC selections, while Payton Richards was named to the Second Team, and Lauren Holmes was a Third Team all-conference pick. Robinson was also selected to the league’s All-Freshman team.
Miller, in her fifth season as the Lady Panthers head coach, led the team to their first unbeaten regular season in program history going 28-0 overall and 18-0 in the GLVC. Her squad has won a conference regular season title in each of her five seasons as head coach, this year accomplishing that feat in a single-division, 14-team league, and in the last three seasons, the Lady Panthers have compiled an 89-7 record with a 52-2 mark in the GLVC. Picked to finish second in the GLVC preseason poll, Drury won their sixth straight regular season title in the conference after losing two starters to graduation last year and played most of this season was without 2018 all-conference center Lucia Fernandez who suffered a knee injury last spring. The award is the first GLVC Coach of the Year honor in Miller’s career.
Daejah Bernard was a unanimous selection as the conference’s Defensive Player of the Year in addition to being a First Team all-conference selection. Bernard has helped lead a Drury defense that leads the nation forcing 31.1 turnovers per game and is allowing only 55.3 points per game. The junior from St. Joseph leads all of Division II and the GLVC in steals with 107 and her 6.3 assists per game is the best mark in the conference and 10th best in the nation. This is the second straight season Bernard has been named the conference’s Defensive Player of the Year.
Paige Robinson is the GLVC Freshman of the Year and was named to the GLVC’s First Team. The Bethany, Illinois native leads the conference in three-pointers made with 80, is third in three-point percentage hitting 43 percent from behind the arc, and she is the fourth leading scorer in the GLVC averaging 15.3 points. Robinson is the fourth Lady Panther in program history to win Freshman of the Year honors in the GLVC.
Hailey Diestelkamp was a unanimous pick for First Team All-GLVC honors. Diestelkamp was a First Team selection last year and a Second Team pick in her freshman season. The junior from Owensville is averaging 21 points per game, second-most in the conference, and she ranks third in the league in rebounding pulling down 8.9 boards per game. Diestelkamp is also third in the league and sixth in the nation in steals averaging 3.4 per game, she is seventh in the GLVC in field goal percentage (53 percent), and she’s third in offensive rebounds averaging 3.1 per contest.
Payton Richards was named a Second Team All-GLVC performer as the sophomore from West Plains averaged 10.8 points. She is third in the league in assists (4.1 per game), seventh in steals (2.1 st pg), and second in assist-to-turnover ratio (+2.28).
Lauren Holmes was voted a Third Team All-GLVC selection in her first season with the Lady Panthers. The sophomore from Fayetteville, Arkansas, and North Texas transfer is also among the national leaders in steals swiping 3.4 per game, an average that fifth-best in NCAA-II and second-best in the conference. Holmes also averaged 5.6 points and 4.4 rebounds per game.
The number one ranked Lady Panthers begin their postseason on Friday in the GLVC quarterfinals when they take on McKendree on Friday at 6 pm at the Vadalabene Center in Edwardsville, Illinois.